Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

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Hugo 49
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Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Hugo 49 » 07 Sep 2009 09:34

This is a question for an Italian researcher, probably someone with an interest in Naval matters.

In 1940-42 The Italian Navy had a fast destroyer transport named Diana. I believe Mussolini took a personal interest in this particular vessel . It was painted in camoflage colours and he referred to it as his 'yacht' . She was capable of over 30 knots and acted as the mothership for the unsuccessful raid by 'powerboats' on Malta and possibly the 'more successful' chariot attack on Alexandria.
She was sunk in June 1942 by a British submarine off Tobruck. It is rumored she may have been carring a secret shipment of cased fuel for the Afrikakorps but this may be untrue.

I am keen to know anything I can about Diana, especially Mussolini's interest in her and a photograph if possible.

Many thanks
Rod New Zealand

Dili
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Dili » 07 Sep 2009 16:16

Diana was employed for some fast supply missions to Egeo, too. I have information that was sunk in Bomba Bay not in Tobruch.

29 Jun 1942
HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian sloop Diana (1568 tons) north of Tobruk, Libya in position 33º30'N, 23º30'E.

At 1125 hours (time zone -3) masts were sighted in position 33º21'N, 23º20'E, bearing 360º distance eight nautical miles away. The ship appeared to be coming steight towards. Five minutes later it could be seen that the vessel was a small auxiliary travelling at high speed. This ship must be carrying a very important cargo.

At 1144 hours six torpedoes were fired from 600 yards. No less then four hits were obtained and the ship sank quickly. There was an immediate counter attack by motor torpedo boats (these had not been seen previously). 17 depth charges were dropped. At 1240 hours Thrasher returned to periscope depth. At the place of the attack a few rafts were seen as well as two motor torpedo boats. (see map)

http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3501.html

You do have an webpage about it in Italian Navy Website

http://www.marina.difesa.it/storia/alma ... vi0845.asp

another photo

http://www.warshipsww2.eu/shipsplus.php ... &id=116680

Hugo 49
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Hugo 49 » 08 Sep 2009 01:40

Many thanks for this and for your interest.

You have confirmed what I always believed, but I think the quote re the sinking you have given is taken from Lt Mackenzie's autobiography.

I am still wondering whether Diania was really carrying an 'important cargo' and /or what this might have been.

I am still very keen to know of any relationship Mussolini had with Diana. The pictures are useful. its easy to see from the profile picture how Diania was built as a 'yacht' (for someone) and presumably converted for war use. A parallel could be the Royal Yacht Britannia being converted and getting a paint job.

Thanks again

Rod

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jwsleser
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by jwsleser » 10 Sep 2009 04:16

Rod

From the Italian Naval official history, vol VII La difesa del traffico con L'Africa settentrionale pages 290-91.

The Diana was carrying naval personnel to rapidly get Tobruk operating as an advanced logistics base. From footnote 2, she was carrying 4 officers and 293 men of the CEMM. 2 officers and 79 men survived. 1 officer and 118 men perished. Don't ask why the numbers don't add-up. These are straight from the note.

On page 291, it states 336 crew and passengers were lost.

Pista!

Jeff

Hugo 49
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Hugo 49 » 11 Sep 2009 01:01

Very many thanks for your time and interest Jeff.

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jwsleser
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by jwsleser » 11 Sep 2009 21:19

Your welcome!

Pista!

Jeff

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Ironmachine
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Sep 2009 16:08

For what it's worth, here is what is said about the Diana in Italian Warships of World War II by Aldo Fraccaroli:
Fast Sloop Diana
Displacement: 1,764, 2,591
Dimensions: 113.9-108.75 x 11.69 x 3.5
Machinery: 2-shaft geared turbines, S.H.P. 30,000
Speed: 32 knots
Armament: 2 x 4/35 (projected 2 x 3.5/50 AA, but in place of these guns two old 4 inch guns were mounted), 6 x 20mm/65
Builders: CNQ
Laid down: 31/5/39
Launched: 20/5/40
Completed: 12/11/40
Sunk 29/6/42 by two torpedoes from H.M. submarine Thrasher.
Projected to be the Prime Minister despatch ship (or yacht), Diana was actually used as a fast transport for high value loads.

There is a picture of Diana, but it is the same that you can see in one of the links provided by Dili. But the caption adds an interesting detail:
Fast sloop Diana, with her strange silhouette, even sometimes confused Italian submariners, who nearly launched torpedoes on her.

Unfortunately, there are no more details about the circunstances of this event.

Hugo 49
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Hugo 49 » 14 Sep 2009 23:57

Very may thanks . What with your and the other responses I really feel I know all there is to know about Diana.

Thanks again

Rod

Hipchick
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by Hipchick » 04 Apr 2011 09:20

Hi I'm a first time user on this forum.

I have document listing WW1 Italian Military deaths. I've this information as I'm researching my family tree. I can confirm that R.N. Diana sank on 29/06/1942. My relative DI GANDOLFO, Arturo, Captain Torpedo Boat, was on R.N. Diana.

The information can be found by searching Italian Military website : http://www.congedatifolgore.com/Documenti/dispersi.pdf (it's in italian but can be translated to English) Dispersi means death.

I hope this helps with your investigation into the Italian Navy. WWII.

Most documents that are listed on the web can be translated using Google translate or selecting translate document in brackets next to link on listing. I hope this helps.

jeannie
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Re: Question regarding the Italian Navy. WWll

Post by jeannie » 14 Aug 2013 16:48

Hi Hipchick, thank you for your fine link.

Every two or three year I browse the Internet to get information about the Diana. My uncle has been radio operator on the Diana and gets missed at the attack of '42.

My grandparents had been very sad about this loss, the grandfather died in 1948 "in grief of the loss of his son" and the grandmother never gave up investigating about a probably surviving of her son.

I have a box full of letters and telegrams of my uncle, but never studied in deep.

BTW "Dispersi" are "Missing in Action", "Caduti" are "Killed in Action"

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